IVF as exploitation

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I think the Catholic Church’s opposition to IVF is well known. It’s based on the principle that IVF separates intercourse from procreation. In some ways it’s like contraception, only in reverse. It’s also very costly in terms of human life at the stage of the human embryo.

But it has a very human side too. The desire for children can be very strong. And many couples find it difficult to conceive. For many of these couples, that realisation doesn’t come until the last years of their fertility, which adds a sense of urgency.

If these couples are blessed to live in a part of world where there is good fertility treatment which is morally acceptable, then they have the option for a treatment that works with a woman’s natural cycle. In other areas, there are less options, typically only IVF.

IVF is hard on the couples who go through it. The scientific literature documents cycles of anxiety which the women experience during cycles and depression after failed cycles. The hormones used to stimulate the ovaries into releasing eggs are not kind to women. The process of collecting eggs is physically painful, but this pain is described as less than the emotional pain. Each cycle of treatment brings more anticipation and anxiety.

Men feel disconnected from the whole procedure, as if they are passive observers in the creation of their own children. I’ve even heard of one father who wasn’t even present in the same country as his wife when his child was conceived.

Approximately 40% of infertility is due to male problems. Is it right that the women should be exposed to all the risk and pain of IVF to overcome the male’s infertility? And a male’s infertility can be a symptom of serious disease. The failure to fully investigate this can be the lost chance to treat a potentially serious problem.

Some centres will not accept older couples, as they have a lower chance of success. This is to improve the success rating of the treatment centre, rather than for the benefit of the couple.

The cost of the treatment is very high. Here in New Zealand there is some public funding available for those who meet the criteria. For those that don’t, it’s upwards of $10 000 per cycle, and nearly $30 000 for a typical 3 cycle treatment.  This is far more than many can afford. Is it just that only the wealthy can have children?

The heartache doesn’t stop when the treatment ends. For couples who are unsuccessful, there is no clearly defined end of treatment. Would one more cycle give them the baby they want? And often there is no reason found for their inability to have a baby.

There is immediate relief for couples who get a baby. But frequently there are ‘leftover’ embryos. Currently in excess of 10 000 in New Zealand alone. Many couples end their treatment with no intention of having more children. But frequently they correctly identify these embryos as being the siblings of the children they already have at home. They don’t want to bring them to birth, but they don’t have any morally acceptable alternatives. They see them as theirs, so they don’t want to donate them to others. And because they have some understanding of their humanity, they don’t want them destroyed by the clinic or by medical researchers. So every time the bill for cold storage arrives, there is a repeat of the anxiety. In the past many couples just paid the bill and put off making a decision. But now they will be forced to make the decision after 10 years. These dilemmas aren’t adequately considered before starting IVF.

There are new morally acceptable fertility treatments available under the banner of NaProTechnology. These treatments diagnose problems with fertility, and then treat them and work with a women’s natural cycle. The babies that result are born from an act of love, rather than a medical technique in a petri dish. For New Zealanders, the closest doctors are in Brisbane and Adelaide, Australia. But there are several practitioners in New Zealand who can start couples off with charting their fertility. That information can later be used by the overseas doctors. NaProTechnology is very successful helping couples with fertility problems to become pregnant. It also helps with many other gynaecological problems. And even for the couple who it can’t help to have a baby, at least it often tells them what the problem is with their fertility. For many, this can be a comfort. After 3 years of practising natural family planning 55% of subfertile couple conceive naturally. NaProTechnology results in even more couples having babies, and sooner.

It there is one last solution for those who wish to have children, who are infertile. It’s adoption. With the queues of people lining up for fertility treatment, how can we say that the more than 14 000 children aborted last year were “unwanted”?

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90 percent of unmarried couples with babies will break up by baby’s teens: Study

wedding ringsLONDON, May 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Half of all British children born this year will be living with only one parent by the time they reach their teens, a study has revealed.

The study, titled “The myth of long-term stable relationships outside of marriage” undertaken by the Marriage Foundation, found that 45 percent of British teenagers between the ages of 13-15 are not living with both parents and that 9 out of 10 children born to unmarried, cohabiting “partners” will be living in single-parent households by their teens.

The study examined the differing rates of “family breakdown” experienced by married and cohabiting couples using data from the Understanding Society national longitudinal survey of 40,000 British households.

The numbers indicate that half of all cohabiting couples will break up within a year of moving in together. Nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of babies under a year old do not live with both natural parents, and that number jumps to 47 percent by the time the child is 15.

Significantly, the numbers are radically different for the children born within marriage: 93 percent of parents who stayed together were married before they had a child.

“The relative scarcity of ‘long-term stable relationships’ outside of marriage confirms that it is disingenuous and untenable for government to keep airbrushing marriage from family policy papers,” the study’s author, Harry Benson, said. “This should be an important issue for government since the direct costs of family breakdown are estimated at £46 billion,” more than the entire budget for national defense.

Benson, the founder and director of the relationship education charity Bristol Community Family Trust, takes the government to task for papering over the link between marital status and family breakdown, saying that in nearly all government reports “overlook, disregard, or dismiss [it] altogether whilst talking glowingly of so-called ‘long-term stable relationships.’”

“The key variable in calculating family stability over time becomes marital status at birth. Fewer married parents means fewer relatively stable couples,” he emphasized.

“A trend away from marriage, all other factors remaining constant, should therefore lead to an increase in family breakdown,” Benson said.

The study was released on the day that the House of Commons voted to approve the government’s “gay marriage” bill, which was promoted by Prime Minister David Cameron as a boon for marriage in general.

But research shows that creating a legal construct for same-sex partners does nothing to increase the longevity of their relationships.

In a submission on the bill, Dr. Patricia Morgan, a sociologist and researcher on government family policy, told the House Committee that the evidence has shown “a publicly professed, legal, partnership does not prevent homosexual couples from breaking up more frequently than married heterosexual couples.”

Dr. Morgan said that “across all countries analyzed” there has been no “causal link” found to “support the idea that same-sex marriage prevents marital decline.” On the contrary, legalized “gay marriage” reinforces the “idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood,” which is the “principle factor” behind the collapse of natural marriage, that between a man and a woman.

In these countries, the introduction of “gay marriage” has coincided with sharp increases in the rate of cohabitation and children born out of wedlock.

Dr. Morgan’s paper, presented to the Committee on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that “gay marriage” leads to the “casualization of heterosexual unions and separation of marriage and parenthood.”

The evidence that “gay marriage” harms natural marriage is borne out by statistics from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Canada, and some U.S. states where it has been implemented.

Respect Life Month – Day Twenty-Eight

large family“Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents.” (Paul VI, Guadium et Spes #50)

  • If you are married, consider whether God is asking you to have one more child. If you are infertile is adoption or fostering an option open to you?

Lord God, from You every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  Father, You are love and life.  Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, born of woman, and through the Holy Spirit, the fountain of divine charity, grant that every family on earth may become for each successive generation a true shrine of life and love.  Grant that Your grace may guide the thoughts and actions of husbands and wives for the good of their families and of all the families in the world.  Grant that the young may find in the family solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love.  Grant that love, strengthened by the grace of the sacrament of marriage, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.  Through the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that the Church may fruitfully carry out her worldwide mission in the family and through the family.  We ask this of You, Who is life, truth, and love with the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Changing the Culture of Child Abuse

Yet another innocent’s life has been brutally ended at the hands of those who are supposed to love and care for them. Yet again, New Zealanders are asking the question “How do we stop this endemic violence in our country?”

There are many practical things that we must do to stop the violence in homes, so that children are protected and kept safe.  These are discussed widely and many agencies and people do their best to provide practical help and support.  However, we need to do much more as we are not seeing any change to the rate of child abuse in this country.  But I would like to put you today that there are two things in our country that need to change, and in doing so a real difference to the incidence of child abuse in New Zealand will be made.

1.  We need to reinstate a culture where it is okay for babies to be adopted.  It has become normal to expect that every pregnant girl or woman who does not abort will parent their child.  It does not matter how old the mother is, or what the family situation is.  Of course, adoption is not for every girl or woman that finds herself pregnant in less than ideal situations.  There are certainly times when the decision to parent the baby is the right one for everyone involved.  But there are now so many young mums – just children themselves – bringing up babies.  There are babies that are going home to family situations where alcohol, drugs and violence are the norm.  I believe that the option of open adoption should be encouraged, and it should be seen as a choice of real love for the child.  In a small way, adoption has the potential to protect some vulnerable children from violence.

2.  We need to end ALL abortion in this country.  Until we understand that at conception a new human being is created with an immortal soul and has inherent dignity; until our government protects these most innocent of our society, we cannot possibly expect the child abuse in our country to end.  Abortion is the most brutal of murders.  If it is okay to end the life of a child in the womb of its mother (whose responsibility to love, care and protect her child beginning at conception), pro-abortionists should not find the abuse and killing of children after birth so abhorrent.  The only difference between these two acts of violence is that the pre-born child is not seen and cannot be physically kept away from harm unless the mother chooses to protect him/her.  With a child already born, those of us who have a moral conscience are able to step in and physically remove a child from a situation of harm if necessary.

There is a link between abortion and child abuse.  This fact is not widely known by the general public, nor acknowledged by those who promote abortion.  There has been some research into this link and Dr Phillip Ney is a leader in this field.  He has found that there is a link between previous abortions and child abuse.  Some of the factors from a previous abortion that contribute to child abuse include:

  • increased anxiety in pregnancy;
  • hindered bonding;
  • diminished partner support;
  • the child can be devalued;
  • increased depression in the mother.

If we as New Zealanders are truely serious about ending the scourge that is our child abuse problem, then we need to work to end abortion, promote adoption and provide the social support networks and practical help that families need to bring up children well.  We need to see the inherent dignity of each and every individual – born and unborn, and we must not tolerate any killing of innocent life for any reason at any time of the life cycle.

Pro-Life Month – Day Twenty-Five

“Dear families, rejoice in fatherhood and motherhood! Openness to life is a sign of openness to the future, confidence in the future, just as respect for the natural moral law frees people, rather than demeaning them! The good of the family is also the good of the Church.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

  • Be encouraging of couples who announce they have been blessed with another child. This becomes even more important when the couple already has three, four, five or more children.

Blessing of Parents Before the Birth of their Child

Gracious Father, your Word, spoken in love, created the human family and, in the fullness of time, your Son, conceived in love, restored it to your friendship.  Hear the prayers of N. and N., who await the birth of their child.  Calm their fears when they are anxious.  Watch over and support these parents and bring their child into this world safely and in good health, so that as members of your family they may praise you and glorify you through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.

 

The Welcome Gift of New Life

To be truly pro-life and truly pro traditional family in this culture, takes a lot of courage and stickabilty. Most of all it takes a profound and deep faith in our Creator and a great love and respect for the Church.

This week our family has had the joy of welcoming the birth of our latest grandchild, Nathaniel Benedict. His parents, Michelle and Brendan, knew that this seventh caesarean birth with added complications was not going to be an easy ride. In fact, Michelle had been in hospital for a week or so prior, as a catastrophic haemorrhage was expected. Now four days later I am only just grasping how close our daughter came to losing her life giving birth to their precious little child of God. With mother and baby finally together in a ward and both out of intensive care, we can reflect on the tremendous skill of the surgeons involved and the fact that generous people in the community donate their blood. With faith and the knowledge of the saints close by at all times we can truly rejoice that God in His goodness has allowed this precious family to come through this life-threatening ordeal.

Of course we know only too well of the critics and judgments made on this humble family. How could they possibly have so many children, how could he make her pregnant again? don’t they know what causes babies yet? they live in another world and so on and on … when he is going to get the big snip?

I want to tell the whole world that my husband Terry and myself, Colleen, are so proud of Michelle and Brendan. In the face of adversity, and at times even scorn, they have embraced the natural law and have willingly accepted the precious gift of life of each of their children. It is no joke when well meaning Christians make remarks about the size of one’s family.

For us, it is so refreshing to see our little grandchildren grow up in a family that does not hold to have the newest and best of everything. Who make their own cards and games and play together and pray together as a family and well … the absolute joy and excitement of a new baby arriving. The joy and love of each of these children is infectious and is truly what life and family is all about.

By the grace of God we have to find a way to show young families today not to be afraid to have children. They are our future. The natural family, mum, dad and children praying, learning, loving and giving is the only viable and natural future for this world.

Eight Reasons to Consider Having One More Child

“Behold, children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 126 (127)

Many years ago, Fr Paul Marx, OSB, founder of Human Life International (and Family Life International NZ) wrote a booklet entitled “Eight Reasons to Consider Having One More Child.”  These wonderful reasons to consider if God is calling you to welcoming another child into your family are no less out of date today.

So I share today with you the eight reasons Fr Marx gave us with his own words:  “Is God calling you to have another child?  Please read this short message with an open and prayerful heart, then decide.”

  1. Love of God.
  2. Each child is an everlasting expression of the unselfish love you have for each other in the commitment of marriage.
  3. The Western world is dying out.  We are no longer replacing ourselves.  New Zealand’s fertility rate in 1999 was 2.0.  (2.2 children per couple is required, practically that means three children per couple).
  4. Your trust and faith in God and your true generosity can be seen in the size of your family.  (That is not to say that those who have small families do not trust in God or are not generous – they may show this in other ways).
  5. The Western world is “rich”, we have high standards of living.  Do we really need all that we think we need?  If you cannot afford to have more children, who can?
  6. Children raised in a truly Christian home are your real insurance against loneliness in old age.
  7. You are more likely to have Religious Vocations from your family.
  8. Children from large (or larger) families usually are more considerate, thoughtful and caring.  Great preparation for adult life.

“…the Church encourages couples to be generous and hopeful, to realize that parenthood is a privilege and that each child bears witness to the couple’s own love for each other, to their generosity and to their openess to God. They must be encouraged to see the child as an enrichment of their marriage and a gift of God to themselves and to their other children.” (John Paul II to US Bishops, September 1983). 

Will you consider having one more child?